FULL MOON - Responsibility

Published Tuesday, 22 March 2016

By ourselves we do evil
and by ourselves we are made impure.
By ourselves we avoid evil,
and by ourselves we are made pure.
The matter of purity is our own responsibility.
No other can take responsibility for us.

Dhammapada 165

It can be quite a wake-up call when we begin to accept that we alone are really responsible for ourselves; nobody else is. Perhaps we secretly prefer the idea that our family is always going to be there for us, or the welfare state, or some celestial being. Of course, hopefully we do have companions who will befriend and support us as we go through life. But that is different from their being ultimately responsible for us. The Buddha warned against those disabling notions that undermine our trust in the law of kamma. He encouraged us to find what it takes to accept full responsibility for our actions of body, speech and mind and to be careful. One of the rewards of doing so is self-respect.

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